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NW PA Fishing Report, 10-20-14

October 21, 2014
By Darl Black , darlblack@windstream.net

This report is provided by Darl Black and several sponsors: PA Great Lakes Region tourism; Black Knight Industries, home of Gamma Line and Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin. Connect to all counties at www.PaGreatLakes.comwww.

The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media outlets and websites.

What's biting in the lakes, streams and rivers of Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?

Article Photos

Lou Letterle with pike on the Allegheny River. (Photo courtesy of Lou Letterle)

French Creek

Flowing through all four counties

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 10/18: "Rainy and cool afternoon. Slipped into my Simms G3's and headed for French Creek. Figured I'd best get out so I could make a timely report on some of the items received in the prize package won in September through the Fishing Report. I decided to tie on a 3/16 oz. Bobby Garland Mo-Glo jighead. Tipped the jig with a fat creek chub and flung it out. In about 15 minutes the bait got slammed. I brought a very chunky 17" rainbow trout to the net. Next, I tied on a watermelon Blakemore Road Runner tipped with a smaller piece of bait. First cast and another rainbow trout. It was also a heavy trout. Surprisingly it took another hour before I caught a walleye. The 'eye fell for a Rapala Golden Alburnus SCRCD-07 Scatter Rap Countdown that I won. Two casts later and another walleye hit. Both were dinks and my hands were too gone to fish using the camera. Also, I had my rod strung with 6-pound Gamma line! Thanks to all the sponsors!

Fact Box

Allegheny River

Gene Winger (Oil City); filed 10/10: "Finally, the fall bite is starting to heat up on the Allegheny River! I've been on the river almost every day for the past two weeks finding mid-day producing some of the best bites. As water temperatures continue to drop, we've been finding nice numbers of larger smallmouth bass stacking up in predictable pockets.

Crawford County

Pymatuning Lake

Patty @ Poff's Tackle , Espyville; filed 10/20: "Given the windy and wet weather, this has not been a busy week. Anglers are catching a few walleye by the bridge on the causeway around dusk. A lot of small perch are being caught. Some anglers are keeping them, but they are not the BIG perch we've seen here in the last few years. I think 2014 is one for the record books but not in a good way. Fish catches have been up and down; not following the usual seasonal patterns for the most part. There may be a good bite for a very brief period; then it disappears.

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Norm @ Jamestown Marina; filed 10/13: "The marina will be closing the end of the month and all boats must be out. Then I get to go walleye fishing!"

Marilyn Black (Cochranton); filed 10/13: "On Columbus Day, we headed to Pymatuning in the afternoon hoping to connect with some walleyes. South wind was stronger than the weather report called for. We fished Heddon Sonars and jigs on several points, channel drops and the big hump between Jamestown launch and the dam, netting us only a few small very small perch. Darl turned the boat north and slid into the mouth of a bay to get out of the building waves. Our first drift on the southern point of the bay resulted in a nice crappie, but the following drift nothing. Darl ran the Gamma Side Vu up and down the point to discover a series of manmade fish structures (looked like cribs) extending from 14 feet to 18 feet on the inside of the point. No fish were observed, but when we started drifting the line of cribs, we began picking up decent black crappies and chunky bluegills. Daylight was waning and we decided not to wait to see if walleyes would come up to feed. Not the biggest catch of panfish of the fall, but enough to call the day a success."

Conneaut Lake

Bob @ Fergie's Bait ; filed 10/20: "My buddy and I made a couple trips to Conneaut Lake this week for bluegills and we were not disappointed. We caught quite a few nice ones in 4 to 6 feet of water around weeds. White split-tail tipped with maggots was hot the most recent time when we caught the largest 'gill of the season."

Darl Black (Cochranton); filed 10/17: "Back on Friday, October 10, Hooker and I made a run around Conneaut Lake checking on the smallmouth bite. Sky was high blue and lake surface flat as a pancake. No smallies shallow. Only interest came from a couple small northern pike and a couple of even smaller largemouth bass. The following Friday, October 17, I went solo to the lake. South wind was forceful pushing to 25 mph according to weather report. Nothing shallow seemed interested, so I explored the deeper water with the Garmin echoMAP 70dv. Surface water temp was holding at 58 degrees; I didn't expect to see fish below about 28 feet which was the late summer thermocline. But there in 38 to 39 feet of water on several different areas of the lake were schools of panfish-size something. Thinking they might be perch, crappies or white bass, I dropped blade baits on them but no response. I did notice that at very slow speed, I was picking up a fuzzy ban of something at exactly 40 feet. Thermocline would not have dropped deeper at this point; guessing was silt suspended in the water. After being tossed about for a couple hours, I left."

ERIE COUNTY

Presque Isle Bay

Jim @ B.A.C. Bait , Erie; filed 10/20: "Weather up here has been rough. With so much wind, very few anglers were fishing the bay this past week. The few who did reported some perch and an occasional steelhead. Hope for improving weather."

Thomas Watral (Erie); filed 10/16: "At Dobbin's Landing on 10/11 we caught jumbo perch all day long on spot-tail shiners. The largest was 14" and the smallest was 10". We were casting into 15 to 20 feet of water with Subiki rigs. Three of us limited out by 4 PM. As of October 16, anglers are catching steelhead on single eggs and minnows at 4 Mile Creek. In the Bay anglers are catching nice perch at Dobbin's Landing, plus North & South Pier. I have steelhead flies and perch rigs for sale at 2407 McKinley Ave, Erie."

Editor's note: On Saturday, October 11, BASS and Old Milwaukee beer held the Bass Trek Challenge at PIB & Lake Erie. This promotion event was open to any two-person team. They fished from 9 AM to 1 PM, and could bring two bass to the scales one smallmouth and one largemouth. Of course each fish needed to meet the 15" minimum size. I went early to the weigh-in to visit with Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall, writer Mark Hicks and several other friends. Of the 50 teams which participated, only about half caught two bass. Smallmouths on the main lake were far more cooperative than largemouth bass in the bay. Quite a few teams were unable to catch a single 15" largemouth. Winners of the event were Danny Jones & Jerry Limerick with 8 pounds even one smallmouth and one largemouth. Danny Jones is a contributor to the Fishing Report.

Erie Tributaries

Ric @ Trout Run Bait ; filed 10/20: "Fishing is great. Steelheads are way up the creeks and there are plenty of them. Also a few browns starting to show up."

Jeff @ Poor Richards ; filed 10/20: "After the last good rain this past week, steelheads are pushing up the creeks. There has been good flow for a couple days and color was right on Sunday, but the tribs are starting to drop. Rain on Tuesday may bring them back up to good flow. The lake shore has been too windy to fish this past week."

Dan @ Elk Creek Sports : filed 10/20: "Fish have moved way above Foley's. The water level and color have been good, but streams are dropping back to clear and low unless we get some good rain on Tuesdayin which case fishing should be good Wednesday, maybe Thursday. But with no rain in forecast beyond Tuesday, creeks will be low and clear by weekend. You will need to take a walk up or down from access areas to get to undisturbed holes where you can catch them on minnow or single eggs. This appears to be one of the best fall returns we have seen in years. Guys walking the streams are seeing far more fish in the holes than any time in recent memory."

Mercer County

Lake Wilhelm

Bob @ Fergie's Bait ; filed 10/20: "Reports are bluegills are biting along the upper causeway particularly in the evening. No reports from the main lake. Campers are closing up shop and boaters are pulling their boats from the marina. Boats must be out of marina by end of month."

Shenango Lake

Editor's note: No report on Shenango except the Army Corps announced the loading docks at ramps were being pulled this week; ramps will remain open. Ken Smith, who usually has something to report, has been at a Crappie.com get together in Kentucky. But I think it is worth running the Shenango striper photo again from the last report. This is my goal to catch a Shenango hybrid striper over 10 pounds!

Venango County

Mike @ Jigger Wholesale , Franklin; filed 10/20: "Customers are catching bluegills at Wilhelm. No reports from other lakes. Weather has not been 'angler-friendly' lately. Guys are going north for steelhead."

Bill @ Griffins Bait , Cooperstown; filed 10/20: "Only a handful of customers in this week, mainly getting bait for French Creek. I'm custom painting several variety of plugs at the shop, including a lipless crank, a deep diving shad crank and a jointed-minnow bait. Stop by and check them out!"

Bill Logan (Pleasantville); filed 10/16: "I got zip on my trip to the Salmon River in New York. Came home and went out to Oil Creek today. Caught 6 trout in short order on Wooly Bugger and Triple Threat Streamer near Drake Well."

Allegheny River

Gene Winger (Oil City); filed 10/10: "Finally, the fall bite is starting to heat up on the Allegheny River! I've been on the river almost every day for the past two weeks finding mid-day producing some of the best bites. As water temperatures continue to drop, we've been finding nice numbers of larger smallmouth bass stacking up in predictable pockets. Several in the 3.5 to 4-pound range! We've been catching most smallies, including some nice walleyes, using Winco 3.75" River Darter Swim Bait; the Amazing River Dace color seems to be preferred by the bass. We've also had some good action this past weekend using Winco C.W Smallie Delight Jigs in deeper, slow moving water. Each day on my way back to the marina, I hit a few spots in the Oil City pool, catching smallies in the 8" to 12" range which indicates to me that larger smallmouth haven't moved into wintering pool yet."

RJ @ Graham Jigs ; filed 10/19: "I fished the river on Wednesday, catching 24 bass all on tubes and drop shot. Today, the 19th, I fished the Crawford County Tournament on the river. I won lunker with a 3.89-lb. smallie. I had only two keepers all day for 7 pounds. However I caught about 50 sub-legal bass (under 15").

Louis Letterle (Franklin); filed 10/17: "My wife Donna and I managed a couple fishing trips on the river this week. We caught a number of bass, walleye and pike we did pretty well on catching weeds and leaves, too! But we enjoyed the absolutely beautiful fall days on the water. Although she caught more fish than me and she certainly is more photogenic than me, I have attached three photos of fish I caught because my fish were more photogenic than hers! Check out the beautiful coloration on this bass, walleye and pike."

Pete @ Smallies on the Yough:

- Filed 10/10 "Chilly weekend on the Allegheny but the bronze were eating. Now that the water temps are dropping the big girls are starting to munch. We fished for two days and got some nice fall smallies; the biggest was 21". Fish came on tubes and stick worms. The bite was moderate and sporadic. They were crushing baits on Saturday as the rain and cold moved in but Sunday the bite was soft and slow. In the evening the bite picked up."

- Filed 10/20 "We fished the river on October 18 near Tionesta in rain showers all day. The fish were eating when we found them. I landed a few 19" fish along with several 17" to 18" bass. Caught them on tubes and stick worms in shallow water."

 
 

 

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